I can come to your library, book club meeting, or conference to talk about how to help your readers find their next good read. Click here for more information including RA for All's EDI Statement.

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

RA for All Roadshow: 2022 Year in Review for PCI Webinars

Today and tomorrow, I am presenting my annual RA Year in Review for PCI Webinars. I enjoy putting this together each year because it gives me a chance to look back at the year that just happened from the widest lens possible before forging ahead into another year.

I cannot stress enough how important it is to take the time to think about where you have been before you move forward, and especially in these trying times, reflection is even more important.

Besides taking at detailed look at the best sellers vs most library checkouts vs best lists, I also break down the major issues of the year. 

I realize not all of you have the time to do the research and compile this information. That is why I do it each year and take it so seriously. It is a lot of work for 1 presentation [and honestly, I lose money on this one], but it is helpful to so many, that is  why I always make time for it.

However, since this talk is only given through PCI webinars [once for FL libraries only and once for the rest of the country] and I know not everyone has access to their full slate of webinars, I make the slides extremely useful for anyone who  reads this. You can get a sense of the major issues just from the slides and the links I have provided. 

Although, I would suggest you double check with your system or state library because many libraries do have access to PCI webinars, especially the replays, and you might not even realize it. 

Either way, here are the slides for the 2022 RA Year in Review, or you can click on the screen shot below. And for context here slides from the past 2 years:

Use the backlist of my year that was summaries to help you see the bigger picture. Also, each presentation is filled with the best lists, bestselling, and most checked out titles for the previous year. 

Click here for slide access

Monday, January 30, 2023

Using Awards Lists As a RA Tool: RUSA Book and Media Awards Edition Includes Genre Picks!

This is part of my ongoing series on using Awards Lists as a RA tool. Click here for all posts in the series in reverse chronological order. Click here for the first post which outlines the details how to use awards lists as a RA tool.

Last night the top awards for Adult Books and Media were awarded including the most prestigious prize The Andrew Carnegie  Medal for Excellence in Fiction and  Nonfiction (I was on this selection committee). Below are the individual links for the lists a winners with the ACM titles singled out. For each award I will also explain what it is for, but note, these are all the best and most readable titles for a general adult audience. 

Please go to the excellent RUSA Book and Media website which has a link for each award with the current winners displayed and very easy backlist access. That backlist access is here, but please note, you need to use the links below for last night's winners until they update the main page.

The Andrew Carnegie  Medal for Excellence in Fiction and  NonfictionThe Carnegie Awards, established in 2012, serve as a guide to help adults select quality reading material. They are the first single-book awards for adult books given by ALA and reflect the expert judgment and insight of library professionals and booksellers who work closely with adult readers.

Please go to the website for the finalists, long list, and backlist, but the 2023 winners were: 

Fiction: The Swimmers by Julie Otsuka and Nonfiction: An Immense World: How Animal Senses Reveal the Hidden Realms Around Us by Ed Yong 

The other awards are for multiple titles.

  • 2023 Notable Books: An annual best-of list composed of  titles written for adult readers and published in the US including fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. (Includes both ACM winners) 
  • 2023 Sophie Brody Medal Winner and Honor Books: Given to encourage, recognize and commend outstanding achievement in Jewish literature. Works for adults published in the United States in the preceding year are eligible for the award.
  • 2023 Listen List: The Listen List: Outstanding Audiobook Narration. This year’s committee evaluated 293 titles with a total listening time of more than 2,838 hours.  The final deliberation produced a list of 13 winners. 
  • The 2023 Reading List: An annual best-of list comprised of eight different fiction genres for adult readers. A shortlist of honor titles, up to 4 per genre was also announced. The genres are: Adrenaline, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Horror, Mystery, Relationship Fiction, Romance, Science Fiction

Again, please peruse all of the winners from last night here. And explore the rich and easily searchable backlist of titles here.

Now get out there and suggest some great reads to start your week.

Friday, January 27, 2023

Watch the RUSA Book and Media Awards Live From Anywhere

As promised, I have the news about how to watch the RUSA Book and Media Awards, including the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction for which I was on the selection committee. Details below. See you on Facebook Sunday late afternoon.  
And I will be back Monday with the links to all the winners.

Join us for this popular event as we unveil the year’s best in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, audiobook narration, and reference materials, featuring the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction. This highly anticipated event is sponsored by NoveListBooklist and RUSA. Winners are hand-picked by our expert selection committees that work closely with adult readers. Their tireless efforts narrow down hundreds of finalists to curate the highly regarded “Best of” lists used by librarians, publishers and booksellers nationwide.

The 2023 RUSA Book & Media Awards Ceremony Recording will premiere during the ALA LibLearnX on Sunday, January 29, 4:00pm to 5:00pm Central in the LLX Marketplace Studio Stage. The ceremony will also be streamed live on the RUSA Facebook page. Additionally, you can follow updates of the ceremony on Twitter.

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Resource Alert! NoveList and LibraryReads Crash Course in Science Fiction

On Feb 7th the LibraryReads-NoveList Crash Courses return which time with a refresh of the original Science Fiction webinar.

I love these Crash Courses. They are at the top of my list of my favorite free genre resources, a document which is always available at this link or at the bottom of my 10 Rules of Basic RA page.

And this one features 3 people I know personally and 2 are real life friends. I am signed up. Are you joining us? Details here and below.

Click here for details

No, you have not entered The Twilight Zone. We are revisiting Science Fiction (the topic of our very first Crash Course with LibraryReads!) with new and updated information, media, and titles.

Do you have a go-to readers’ advisory strategy for helping readers of Science Fiction? Whether your readers are fans of space operas or alternate histories, let NoveList and LibraryReads break down the best science fiction has to offer your readers — from first contact to climate change apocalypses. 

Join Matthew Galloway, Collection Development Librarian at Anythink Libraries, and Anna Mickelsen of Springfield City Library as they cover: 

  • Popular subgenres, appeals, and themes 
  • Current trends and authors to watch  
  • How to help readers of sci-fi 
  • Other popular media in the genre  

We welcome anyone interested to stay for an additional 15-minute training to share search strategy tips and learn where to access genre-related information in NoveList.  

Tuesday, February 7th, 2023, from 2-3 pm EST
Optional NoveList training from 3-3:15 pm EST


Attendance for the live webinar is free. A recording of the webinar and bonus content will be available on learnwithnovelist.com for a fee approximately one week after the live session. 


Matthew Galloway is a collection development librarian at Anythink Libraries in Colorado. He enjoys learning new board games and is wild for readers' advisory. His passion for great fiction is only matched by his commitment to bringing great works to his community. 

Anna Mickelsen is the Adult Information Services Supervisor at the Springfield City Library in Massachusetts. When she isn't fiddling with spreadsheets, ordering fiction, or weeding library materials, she fights tabletop adversaries and wrangles cats. 

Moderator Yaika Sabat comes from a background in public libraries and now works on editorial content as part of the Book Discovery team. While she is a horror fan first, she does her best to read across genres and is passionate about diverse representation in books and media. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

StokerCon Librarians' Day Tickets Up For Sale NOW!!!

I am happy to report that Konrad Stump and I have gotten the schedule-- with panel details-- up for StokerCon 2023's Librarians' Day. 

It is Friday, June 16, 2023 in Pittsburgh and it is only $75 if you sign up before March 1. That price includes lunch. We are also working to get all PA library workers CE credit if they would like. 

Also, as we do every year, we will have mountain for ARCs and SWAG for all attendees to take for FREE.

We would love to see anyone who can make the drive in for the day there. We can have up to 100 people. We have programming for all types of public and academic library workers. 

If you are a library person and you already registered for StokerCon, we have a $35 add-on ticket to cover the cost of lunch. 

Please forward this far and wide. We would love to see all of you there. Details below or go directly to the official webpage.

Sheraton Pittsburgh Hotel at Station Square

June 16, 2023


$75 by April 1

$85 by May 15

$35 to add-on Librarians’ Day to your StokerCon 2023 registration

8:30-9: Check-in

9 - 9:50 a.m.: Buzzing About Horror Books, Moderated by Emily Vinci: Join members of the HWA’s Library Advisory Council as they share the buzz about a slew of exciting new and upcoming horror titles. Come for the booktalks; stay for the free books and swag!

10 - 10:50 a.m.: How to Feature Horror at Your Library, Moderated by Konrad Stump: Hear librarians from across the country share their experiences featuring horror at their libraries, from book discussions to writing groups to author events and more.

11 - 11:50 a.m.: Why I Love Horror, Moderated by Lila Denning: Join some of StokerCon 2023’s Guests of Honor for a lively discussion about why readers of all ages enjoy a good scare, from fictional frights to all-too-true terrors. Appearances by: Cynthia Pelayo, Alma Katsu, Daniel Kraus, Owl Goingback, Jewelle Gomez

Noon - 1:20 p.m.: LUNCHGrab a plate of delicious food and join your fellow attendees and presenters in casual conversation.

1:30 - 2:20 p.m.: Brains! Brains! Brainstorming Ways to Engage Your Community: Join HWA Library Advisory Council members in small group discussions to meet some of your fellow librarians, share experiences, and gather ideas for how to engage your community with the horror community.

2:30 - 3:30 p.m.: The Rising Popularity of Extreme and Erotic Horror, Moderated by Ben Rubin: Extreme horror is no longer lurking on the fringes of the genre. Some of the bestselling and most critically acclaimed Horror authors today inflict their scares through this lens. It's a subgenre libraries MUST carry on their shelves. It even has its own award. Appearances by Splatterpunk Award founders Brian Keene and Guest of Honor, Wrath James White, along with Eric LaRocca, V. Castro and Hailey Piper.

3:30 - 4:20 p.m.: Summer Scares: A Thrilling Summer Reading Program, Moderated by Becky Spratford: Join Summer Scares current and past selected authors, spokespeople, and partners to learn more about the HWA’s popular summer reading program, how to get involved, and how to use Summer Scares resources to better serve your patrons. Appearances by Daniel Kraus, Stephanie from Books in the Freezer, and more.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

2022 Year in Review: Sales vs Library Checkouts

In preparation for my annual year in review presentation for PCI webinars next week, I have been compiling, comparing and contrasting data from across the book atmosphere.* The slides, which include  many useful links, will be available to all on January 31st but today I thought I would give you a preview of the difference between what books are checked out the most at the average library vs what books sell the most.

You can click here for the article in PW analyzing the top 25 selling print books according to BookScan which includes the below graphic of those titles. But please, click through because the narrative is extremely useful.

I have also looked at checkout data from 5 library systems (specifics in the slides next week) in order to see where the overlap is and is not. Again, I will talk about that more next week, but in the meantime, I also have this article crunching the data of all of the libraries who use Synthetics Unbound. There is a list and some commentary at this link, as well as access to a fun time-lapsed look at checkout stat from Jan 1-Dec 31. Click here or see the embedded image below.

As I said above, I will have even more for you on 1/31, but I thought this was a good place to start assessing 2022. Data is rolling out every day this month and each nugget helps us understand the leisure reading landscape a bit better.

*Credit Robin Bradford for the term "book atmosphere."

Monday, January 23, 2023

Using Awards Lists As A RA Tool: Edgar Awards Edition

 This is part of my ongoing series on using Awards Lists as a RA tool. Click here for all posts in the series in reverse chronological order. Click here for the first post which outlines the details how to use awards lists as a RA tool.

The Mystery Writers of America have announced the nominees of the 2023 Edgar Awards here. These are awards for Mystery and Crime, Fiction and Nonfiction, as well as television, all produced in 2022.

The Edgar awards are an EXCELLENT resource, for all of the reasons I normally discuss [see link in the intro], but also because 3 of their awards are straight up readalike awards-- The Mary Higgins Clark Award, the Lillian Jackson BraunAaward, and the Sue Grafton Memorial Award. I rely on these awards to help fans of these authors find new titles and authors.

The Edgar Awards also have a WONDERFUL database. You can easily search back 77 years [!] and because mysteries are so popular in our libraries, there are endless display and suggestion possibilities held in that database. You can search by category, author, year, basically anyway you might want to look for titles, they have you covered.

Explore the database for yourself.

And click here or on the image below to access the full color, PDF press release for this year's nominees.

But before I go and let you get lost down a rabbit hole of amazing suggestions for a wide range of mystery readers, I would like to give a special shout out (and an I told you so) to Gabino Iglesias who is nominated for BEST NOVEL for The Devil Takes You Home. Congrats to him, but again, may I remind you that I was on this book early. I gave it a STAR review in Library Journal in the June 2022 issue. I also did this interview with Iglesias so that all of you could get to know him better because I knew this book was AMAZING. This book was also in my person best of the year list AND I have now begun using The Devil Takes You Home in my general RA training program as the example of a book where the language matters and is in fact, a major appeal factor. You can see some of that discussion in my review of the book

All of the nominees are great (and there are more than a few which cross over with Horror). Please take some time to explore this year's nominees and the robust, searchable, backlist.

Click here to access the PDF

Friday, January 20, 2023

Learn With NoveList Actively Anti-Racist Service to Readers Class with Robin and Me-- Still Time to Join Us Live- And a Bonus Podcast

Yesterday, Robin and I did the first of 4 planned Live Q & A sessions for our Learn with NoveList, Actively Anti-Racist Service to Readers  class. As a reminder, here is the description with links to signup.

The live session was great, but here is the thing, it was only the 1st of 4! There is still plenty of time for all of you to sign up and be a part of it all.

In preparation for this first live session, we also recorded an episode of Circulating Ideas with Steve Thomas. He dropped that episode yesterday and I made sure to listen to it before the Live Q & A. And after listening and then having the live session, I can tell you that this 30 min conversation with Steve, Robin, and me is an excellent overview of what you will get if you sign up for the class. And we talk frankly about the cost as well. [Spoiler: it is cheaper to sign up with NoveList than with us directly, and we would both argue that the learning is better with the NoveList class because you interact with more people.]

So, click here to learn more and sign-up for the course. Our next live session is in April, too you have plenty of time to finish before then. 

And also, click here or below to listen to Robin and I talk about the class itself.

233: Actively Anti-Racism Service to Leisure Readers, with Robin Bradford and Becky Spratford

Steve chats with Robin Bradford and Becky Spratford, creators of the Actively Anti-Racist Service to Leisure Readers course for Learn with NoveList, about how they got started doing anti-racism training, the difference between “not racist” and “anti-racist”, working with NoveList to adapt their in-person presentations to a virtual self-paced format, and why they provide serious answers to non-serious questions. 

Read the transcript!

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Current Issue of Booklist is RA Focused, Your Chance to Vote in their Readers' Choice Awards, and Andrew Carnegie Medal Announcement Info

Booklist has published their first ever Readers' Advisory Focused issue in the January 2023 issue. And there is so much I wanted to point out.

That post title promises quote a lot. Don't worry, I am going to deliver courtesy of Booklist and it is all great. 

But before I get to the print issue, I wanted to let everyone know about the Booklist Blog's Inaugural Readers' Choice Awards. It is all  in honor of "best" season. Anyone of you can vote for your favorite Adult and YA titles in fun categories. Here are the details:

Enter the Booklist Blog Readers’ Choice Awards, our more (ahem) breezy take on the book-award season.

Vote for your favorites in the following categories by writing in the name of the book, author, and character(s) when applicable:

Best Book Cover

Best Protagonist

Best Villain

Best Couple

Best Plot Twist

Only adult and young adult novels published in 2022 are eligible. Voting closes Friday, February 10, 2023. If you’re attending LibLearnX, you can also swing by our booth (#718) for a paper ballot. Literally anyone can vote, so share far and wide with your reader friends!

Check our blog for updates, including a shortlist (which means more voting!) and winner announcements!

Speaking of LibLearnX, On Sunday, January 29th at 4:30pm Central, the RUSA Book and Media Awards will be announced virtually and announcement that includes the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction winners.

I will be posting the link to watch all of the awards on Friday June 27th as it is being finalized right now.

As part of the ACM selection committee, I am excited to share our singers with the world, but I am also so proud of our short lists. So is Booklist. In the current issue they have all six finalists, sharing the books they think you should read Links are below, but you need to login to see them, or check the print issue. Which is a good time to remind you that if your library gets the print (which most do), you have free digital access already. Follow this link to set it up.

Nonfiction Finalists Share Reading Suggestions:

    Fiction Finalists Share Reading Suggestions:

    And finally, the January 2023 Booklist has 4 excellent articles under the title of "Trade Secrets" Again you need to login or read them in your library's print edition:

    There is so much to help everyone in this issue. 

    And again, I will be posting the link to watch all the RUSA Books and Media Awards on Friday June 27th as it is being finalized right now. The live stream will be Sunday, January 29th at 4:30 pm central. 

    Wednesday, January 18, 2023

    2023 Most Anticipated Lists as a Resource for Being Prepared and As a Backlist Resource

    I wanted to alert you to two of my favorite "Most Anticipated" lists came out recently.

    These lists obviously help you prepare for the coming months. Those of you who do collection development will want to use this list to get their orders in while those who work at the services desk need this information to get ready with their "while you wait" readalike suggestions for many of of the high demand titles and to get ready to promote some promising new voices.

    But this post is not only about upcoming books, it is also here to remind you that these "anticipated" lists make an even better recourse after the fact. Let me explain using The Millions and their excellent, long standing, and ongoing "Most Anticipated" coverage as the example.

    Use this link to see all of their "most anticipated" coverage, but I will tell you now, The Millions is always doing lists of upcoming titles to be excited about. Vetted by their editors and contributors, these lists feature fiction, nonfiction, poetry, graphic novels, books in translation, literally everything of note that adult services library worker who are helping leisure readers should be aware of. These lists are diverse and inclusive as well. But, most importantly, they are also annotated! This means for every title you have a talking point about it to share with a patron. You don't need to know anything other thanhow to access these lists; then you read the annotation written by an expert. 

    [Remember you can and should use the words of others to book talk a book.]

    Not only are the titles all annotated, you can pull up every "most anticipated" list in reverse chronological order with this link.

    Why use the backlist? I mean if you read this blog you should know, but some of you are new here and others need the reminder.

    Any title that has appeared on any of their "most anticipated" lists, especially those from 1-4 years ago, make great suggestions. Why?

    First, the titles were vetted by experts meaning they are worth your attention at any time, not only when they are new or upcoming. 

    Second, there is a good chance if they were on lists like this that you ordered them for your collections so you own them and probably have not weeded them yet. 1-4 years means they are probably still relevant as well. 

    Third, the book talk for you to handsell the title-- verbally or on a list [web or in the library]-- is right there for you on that list. No work beyond knowing where to click to pull up these lists.

    Fourth, and this is the most important point, when you suggest titles to your patrons that they could not have found on their own, that's when you shine. Reminding people of the treasures that are in the stacks is fun and useful. We need to show them that we are here to help with their leisure reading needs so that they continue to value and seek out our services. When we recommend great titles they may have missed, our users understand the breadth of our collections  and the care with which we have built them, which is something we are not great at communicating to the public.

    LitHub has entered the most anticipated market since 2019, and their coverage is also useful, it just doesn't go back as far and it is not as comprehensive. I really haven't found anything on LitHub's most anticipated lists that The Millions did not have. But, it is a smaller universe of titles to peruse, so it will take less time to use it ass a resource, which can also be helpful.

    So yes, go look at the bright and shiny list for 2023 from The Millions and LitHib, but also make sure you are also using the backlist of ' "most anticipated" content to help readers all the time.